Thursday, November 30th, 2023

Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Doppelbock Duel


Between the 14th and 17th centuries, the Northern German city of Einbeck was a brewing center and popular exporter of beer, but the Thirty Years War and a series of unfortunate brewery fires effectively ended the city’s dominance. The Einbeck style of beer was later recreated by the monks of Munich’s St. Francis of Paula church in the 17th century where Bavarian speakers corrupted the name “Einbeck,” leading to the modern “bock.” The monks fasted during the Lenten season, finding their nourishment from a stronger, heartier bock they referred to as “liquid bread.” The monks called this brew Salvator, Latin for “Savior.” That beer emerged into a distinctive style called the doppelbock — doppel means double, and while these beers were similar to the bock, they were not double the strength. Doppelbocks are full-bodied, intensely malty — especially accenting a lightly toasted caramel and chocolate character — and generally have levels of alcohol higher than 7 percent. Hops may add some balance but doppelbocks are all about malty sweetness. Today, Peaks & Pints presents an in-house flight of German versus American doppelbocks that we call Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Doppelbock Duel.

Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Doppelbock Duel

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

6.7% ABV

During Lent, as legend goes, German monks sustained themselves by sipping strong, dark lagers dubbed doppelbocks. This timeworn tale of liquid bread tends to overshadow an indisputable truth: Doppelbocks are fantastic feats of brewing engineering, no more so than Ayinger Celebrator. With accolades from the late Michael Jackson and a collection of gold medals from the World Beer Cup, this rich, toffee-rocked lager is dark, crisp, with a touch of chocolate and grape notes. While presenting a full body, it’s not cloyingly sweet and features a wonderfully creamy body and enough alcohol to warm your palate. Fun fact: Charles Finkel, who founded beer importer Merchant du Vin and Pike Brewing, named this beer, which we learned on the Grit & Grain Podcast Episode 41, Part 1.

Paulaner Salvator

7.9% ABV, 28 IBU

Located in Munich, the Paulaner brewery officially started in 1634 when the Paulaner Monks of the Neudeck Monastery brewed this doppelbock was and drank it instead of food during Lent. Salvator has always been the flagship beer, although a few refinements have been made over the years. It is the industry standard and perfectly embodies this lager style that is often called “liquid bread.” It’s brewed with Herkules, Tauras, and Hallertauer tradition hops using Munich and Pilsner malts that flow sweetly across the tongue, brightened by green grape and cherry fruitiness. Beautiful bready aromas, with tinges of alcohol spiciness, waft enticingly, while alcohol lends a gentle warmth into the finish.

Occidental Lucubrator

7.7% ABV

Occidental Brewing’s award-winning doppelbock is a dark and rich malty lager with notes of caramel, melanoidin, and a touch of roast malt. Its initial, subtle sweetness mellows nicely with subsequent sips, and a pleasant alcohol finish makes for a nice winter warmer.

E9 Doppelgoat

7.8% ABV

E9 Brewing‘s traditional German-style doppelbock lager is aged in a mix of Woodford Reserve, Widow Jane, and Sazarac Buffalo Trace barrels for classic bready malt character with hints of dried fruit and toffee matched with an underlying bourbon backbone.

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